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December 21, 2013

Marching to the Magic Kingdom

Danvers High's well-traveled band prepares for Disney parade

DANVERS — For members of the Danvers High Falcon Marching Band, this week meant last-minute trip instructions and some tough rehearsal time. The reward comes next week, when they head to Orlando, Fla., to march in holiday parades at Universal Studios and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

“This is the home stretch,” band director Ron Parsons told students Thursday. “Anything worth working for is worth working hard for.”

The rehearsal would not be easy, Parsons warned. It would involve band members marching in place and playing flat-out to the four walls of the band room for 30 minutes. Today, the band will be simulating a parade by marching around the parking lot.

“We always make practice harder than the performance,” Parsons said. The parades require the band to play Christmas tunes for 20 minutes, so playing for longer than that will build the students’ stamina.

For many seniors in the band, who joined as eighth-graders, this will be their fourth trip in five years. Normally, the band travels every other year, and Parsons said this is the first time has known of seniors having taken four band trips.

“I think that’s pretty cool,” he said. “I don’t think it gets too much better than that for a high-school kid to pretty much travel halfway around the world, perform at both Disney parks, perform in Hawaii and New York City.”

The band marched in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1, 2010, and at Disneyland during the same trip. They traveled to Hawaii at the end of 2011 to perform in parades and performances marking the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. And they marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City in March. Now it’s on to Florida.

Abbey Bolduc said she is one of those lucky seniors.

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